Out of the Basement… and on to the Training Floor

For the last several months I’ve been playing with my boy Kory in the basement teaching him to turn left and right. It’s a silly game really. I front him to me and tell him either “Left” or “Right”. He will turn completely (spin, really) in one direction or another. If he guesses right he gets a game of tug.

Over the past couple weeks he’s been at about 98% with the turning game. And so this evening I endeavored to take it out onto the training floor to discover exactly what I’ve created here.

The set I’ve been working with is a basic “Go On” training sequence. I’ll send him down the floor and have the opportunity to proof our 2o2o performance on the dogwalk at the conclusion of the sequence.

It turns out that the set of the floor was a bit serendipitous for teaching Left and Right. You can see in this drawing that a turn to the left favors an approach to the #5 jump, while a turn to the right would bring the dummy-jump into focus.

I have to remind myself that the command to turn Left is a pre-cue. First I tell him to go on to the jump. But I have to get out the Left qualifier while he’s still a couple strides away from the turning jump.

I can test my Right turn command and create nice smooth flow for this renumbered sequence. I’m fully aware that I’m on the side of the turn and probably need to test Right on the side away from the turn as well.

Here’s a good test with me on the side away from the turn. This one was kind of fun because I could further condition the 2o2o while at a distance, layered to the opposite side of the unnumbered jump.

The interesting notion throughout the application of my Left and Right training to jumps was that we were doing it on the sequence in which Kory was fully conditioned to “Go On.” For all of that, he was about 90% accurate… in our introductory session.

I’ve left out some minor conditioning steps. And I’ve not bothered to draw about a half dozen variations on the theme that are allowed by this set of obstacles. I’d be happy to give more detail if anyone is interested.

Bud’s Google-proof Trivia Contest

Early in the movie “The Matrix” Thomas Anderson (Neo) had a book with a false compartment in which he stored money and computer disks. What was the name of the book? When was it published? Who is the author?

First correct answer posted as a reply to this blog post wins a free copy of the March Jokers Notebook.


Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston: BudHouston@hughes.net. Check out my latest publication the Jokers Notebook ~ Dog Agility Distance Training Plan – March 2010 available on the Country Dream Web Store: http://countrydream.wordpress.com/web-store/ . Readers of my web log get a discount: Enter “special03” in the box for the discount code. And that will take $5.00 off the price of the order.

9 Responses to “Out of the Basement… and on to the Training Floor”

  1. Adrienne Says:

    Simulacra and Simulation

    Written by Jean Baudrillard
    Translated by Sheila Glaser
    Publish in English on 31 Dec 1994

    • budhouston Says:

      Hey Adrienne,

      I suppose I have to accept that answer; because the book Neo used was the English version. The original, published in French, was published 1981.

      I’ll send you a copy of the March Jokers Notebook.


  2. ruckus scottie Says:

    I took the bait. Not google-proof:

    • budhouston Says:

      Yah, what I should have done is taken a picture of Neo holding the book. They you would have had to know the name of the movie and done some of the brain work yourself.

      Google is one way to go. Or, you could have figured out the name of the book the way I did. I paused stepped through that part of the movie until the title of the book was discernible. It’s only visible for about a quarter of a second. I found it to be quite ironic.


  3. Nancy Hoffman Says:

    Great post, I am working on my directionals myself and will try these setups when the weather permits. It was good of you to remind me that the left/right command is a pre-cue. I need to get these commands out sooner.

    Nancy and Stewie JRT

    • budhouston Says:

      I admit that when I transferred the skill to the training room floor… the first couple times I gave a “Left” or “Right” command… Kory would spin nearly in place (because that’s the way we’d learned the directionals). But it didn’t take him long to understand the verbal as an action to take *after* the jump.

      Like many of the skills we desire in agility, you can’t actually own it unless you teach it to your dog with patience and practice.


  4. Karissa Says:

    I am envious of those who are able to teach & correctly use “left” and “right” commands. When I am on the course with my dog, remembering my lefts & rights (as they pertain to my dog, especially) seems beyond my realm of comprehension. lol I have had much better luck just using the basic switch, although having a solid “left/right” would certainly make tunnel exits at a distance nice at times.

    My Border Collie puppy has learned “spin” and “turn” (for doing spins in opposite directions) — and I will admit that reading posts such as this makes me wonder if it wouldn’t be worth the time to go back and re-name my cues “left” and “right.” But again, it would all come down to remembering the difference between right and left and properly using them on course. ;o)

  5. Deb Says:

    I taught my dog Gee and Haw, which started out as turns in place to the right (gee) or left (haw). I’ve used them on the course occasionally, but they’re not as handy IMHO as “get out” and “here” which you see a lot of in NADAC.

  6. Adrienne Says:

    So “pre-cue” means you have to give it before the dog takes off for the jump? Wouldn’t that spin them off the obstacle they are headed for?

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